Since 1992 water scarcity in the Río Bravo/Rio Grande river basin has heightened tensions and conﬂicts among water users and politicians on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border. This article argues that while this situation has been characterized as an international “water war” stemming from a “water crisis,” it is more accurately described as a series of conﬂicts between regional, binational and national actors generated by a “crisis of irrigated agriculture.” A close examination of the dynamics of these current water conﬂicts focused on the delta region of the Rio Bravo/Grande reveals a binational ecological consciousness among the agricultural users of the resource, the product of a long history of irrigated agricultural development in the borderlands. The article argues that these conﬂicts must be understood historically, and suggests that these binational, regional dynamics should be cultivated in the effort to negotiate the social dimensions of the crisis of irrigated agriculture in the borderlands, and to establish a more sustainable and democratic process of water management in the river basin.
Keywords: Irrigation, Agriculture, Conﬂict, Borderlands, Water
How to Cite:
Walsh, C., (2004) “Aguas Broncas: The Regional Political Ecology of Water Conflict in the Mexico-U.S. Borderlands”, Journal of Political Ecology 11(1), 43-58. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/v11i1.21658